Although this genus has relatively few species, in the northern hemisphere, these are dramatic ferns for a good soil, in a shady and ideally sheltered position. Although not tall, the frond quickly arch over and can be 2-3m in length. New emerging fronds are often coloured from pinks through the reds. The common name chain fern, refers to the sori which are in double, dashed lines, unusually on the upper surface of the pinnae. Later in the year some species are more dramatic, as the surface of the fronds can also be covered in hundreds of little plantlets!

In common with most ferns, Woodwardia species have few specific wildlife attributes although their clumped growth-form and evergreen fronds provide cover for invertebrates in all seasons.

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